A couple of months ago, my friend Noelle wrote a beautiful piece titled “Put the ‘I’ Back in ‘I Love You’”. Though I highly recommend that you stop reading this piece to read the original post, I know you didn’t ask for a two-for-one deal by clicking on this link…but what a bargain you have received! Instead, I’m happy to summarize: essentially this phrase, perhaps the greatest proclamation of one’s feelings, has become edited, overused, and misunderstood. Noelle cites three reasons for our doing so: perhaps in saying just “love you”, we are lazy; we do not mean what we are saying; or that maybe we are insecure with expressing these feelings and by omitting the personal “I”, we are shifting the ownership of the phrase even slightly away from ourselves.
I think about this piece a lot. Most often when I find myself using “love you” as a response to statements where “thank-you” or even a jolly “you’re the best” would suffice. Bridget, I turned your bedroom light off because I noticed you left it on. Bridget, I grabbed the bill off your table for you as I was walking passed. While acts like these are good and helpful and I have a deep appreciate for the people in my life, I don’t think that “love you” is a proper response to these situations. Based off of Noelle’s philosophy, it’s not even the most sincere way to express my gratitude, though prior to heavy introspection, I believed it to be.
In overusing such a phrase, what then happens when I utilize it to actually express amorous feelings or feelings of a deep appreciation? Perhaps the recipient knows no different, but I think I would. I kind of think about it like The Boy Who Cries Wolf. How is there any validity in what we say when it’s something that we’ve used so many times before?
After meditating on this notions, I have made a vow to be more deliberate in all I say to ensure I am conveying my most authentic truth.